Here’s my five decorating tips for making stress-free Christmas Cookies.
I woke up this morning, ready to mail a Christmas present to a friend. I found the box for the present. I found the shipping box. Ah! There’s room on the side of the shipping box. Just the right space for a package of cookies.
I had just bought a cool canister of sprinkles from Aldi’s. I’ll make iced sugar cookies. This would be a good time to make Great-Grandma Flossy’s Drop Sugar Cookies. I haven’t made those in years. I could ice them and decorate them and . . .
What am I thinking? I hate icing cookies! I don’t do it very well. I’ve got other things to do. Why not? My husband’s taking a vacation day today and I should too. Here we go.
As I iced my cookies, I learned a few things that probably apply to anytime I need to do something new. Here’s my decorating tips for frosting Christmas cookies.
Learn as you go. I haven’t iced sugar cookies in years. I fret over cake frosting. Christmas sugar cookies, like fudge and other holiday specialties, are one of those thing we don’t do often enough to remember what we did the last time. At first, my frosting was too thick. My husband thought I wasn’t putting on enough frosting. The goo of icing running over the sides made him realize why I was being chintzy. Then I thinned the icing too much. The icing dried before Jack could apply the sprinkles. I was icing cookies too quickly for him to keep up.
If he and I had been tense about every cookie being perfect, we would have ended the cookie icing session with a marital spat and un-iced cookies. Instead, we relaxed and talked through how to make each cookie better.
Do it with someone else. I could have done the cookies by myself. I’m sure many bakers do and they’ve got their method down to a fine art. Because of my vision, I knew the sprinkles part would be more frustration than it was worth. So I asked Jack to help me. He’s on vacation; he’s not doing anything. I’m glad I had the excuse of poor vision to get him involved. The job did go faster with two people. Besides it was fun. Just ask him. J
Enjoy the moment. I mean, someone has to destroy the evidence of burnt and broken cookies, and drippy icing. I should have painted Jack’s nose with icing. I could have added red sprinkles and called him Rudolf!
Give yourself a second chance. As I mentioned, I fret over frosting. My recipe was that of my great-grandma Flossy, a soft sugar cookie that I remember loving as a child but the one time I made them as an adult, they were horrible. My girls found the recipe in my file and wondered why I had kept it. I don’t know what compelled me to try them this morning or to put icing on them. I’m the one who chafes at icing anything. But I’m glad I did. It wasn’t that hard and we had fun. Maybe I have matured and learned to relax over the years. I’m the one that has changed. It’s refreshing to try things again that were difficult or scary in a younger season of life.
Risk it! I made the cookies this morning to ship to a friend in Ohio. What was I thinking? An old recipe, icing I don’t feel competent to apply, and shipping iced cookies that might get stale, broken and smooshed in the shipping process.
Why not? It’s Christmas. I love my friend. I love baking. I love spending time with my husband. Aren’t those things more important than perfect cookies? It’s time for me to observe the advice I gave my daughters countless times: the process is more important than the product.
Here’s Great-Grandma Flossy’s recipe for Drop Sugar Cookies. You can figure out your own icing.
Grandma Flossy’s Drop Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon rind
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp milk
2 cups flour (part whole wheat if desired)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
Blend together margarine ( used butter), salt, lemon rind (I used a ½ tsp lemon juice instead), and nutmeg. Cream in sugar, add eggs and beat well. Stir in milk. Stir together dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.